Government 'won't get write-off'
Independent TD Shane Ross says Government will not achieve Anglo debt write-off
A group of independent TDs has contended the Government will not be capable of getting any write-off of the overall debt of €47 billion incurred by the State from the promissory notes used to shore up the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The Dublin South Dáil Deputy Shane Ross has tabled a private members motion on behalf of the group condemning what he says has been the Government's inability to secure a write-down of the debt with the European Central Bank. The motion will be debated tonight and tomorrow night in the Dáil.
Mr Ross and a number of his independent colleagues held a press conference on the plinth of Leinster House this afternoon in which they argued that the two Coalition parties had failed to live up to their pre-election promises on dealing with bank debt.
They said the Government might get an agreement to extend the repayment schedule for the promissory notes but would not succeed in getting the debt itself reduced.
"We will get a deal and we will get an absolutely token humiliating deal. The Government is going to come out and sell a deal that is sending this promissory note to our great grandchildren.
It will be a humiliating deal. It will extend and pretend but it will not attack the real problem which is a write-off of the debt," Mr Ross told reporters.
"I am dreading a deal which is dictated by Europe and which is expected so readily by this Government.
"True to form they will take it lying down and they won't confront those people who have lent this money recklessly at those exorbitant rates," he added.The other TDs who attended were: Finian McGrath; Luke Ming Flanagan; Catherine Murphy; Tom Fleming; Thomas Pringle; Mattie McGrath; and Stephen Donnelly.
Mr Donnelly said that a Government Minister had promised before the election that Anglo would not get another cent and that's what Irish people had voted for.
"Last year, using smoke and mirrors, this Government paid €3.1 billion to Anglo Irish and it is looking like it is going to do it again. This Government is not even looking for the debt to be written down.
"All it is looking to do is to ask to let our children pay it instead of us. This has nothing to do with the Troika programme. This is debt to Anglo Irish Bank and to Irish Nationwide. It is not a default," he said.
Ms Murphy said people tolerated the repayment last year but that the public mood has since changed.
"You are going to see a more energised citizenry if there is not the prospect of this debt being written off.
"The expectation was these promissory notes were created as a temporary measure to be pushed out, to be dealt with when the crisis was over. They need to be dealt with if there is any prospect of rebuilding the country," she said.
Mattie McGrath said it was a red line issue for Labour but that their strategy had failed "They have got literally nothing only crumbs. They are going to have humble pie to eat."
Mr Flanagan pointed out that Senator John Gilroy of Labour had said publicly that the Government will fall if they paid the money.
"To suggest it's pointless doing what we are doing is wrong. Tonight and tomorrow night, we will put more pressure on [the Government parties].
"If the Labour Party follow through we will have no Government and an election and then people will get their say."